Fighting against homophobia within the church a Christian duty

Caroline Lozano/ Assistant Opinion Director

Regardless of deity, branch or creed, religion generally has one golden rule: treat others as one wishes to be treated. This principle gives religious adherents a law to live their lives by in order to avoid conflict and/or harming others. In Christianity, most denominations consider this rule to be one of the central tenets of the religion.  

Unfortunately, when it comes to the LGBTQ community, it hasn’t always been this way, even when individuals identifying as LGBTQ want to become a part of a religious community and have a relationship with God. This alienation has caused much pain for the LGBTQ community, who may have a hard time coming out to their religious family members because of how both religious and lay people treat or perceive them.

The worst I’ve seen of homophobia within Christian community in the U.S. comes from the Westboro Baptist Churchwith their infamous picket signs blaring hateful words against the LGBTQ community that have no foundation in Christian theology and practice.

I’m happy to mention that many Christian denominations, including other Baptist churches, have condemned the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, while others have reaffirmed that God loves all people, regardless of sexual orientation.  

As a Catholic, I have personally noticed a slow improvement in the relationship between the LGBTQ and Catholic community. In 2013, Pope Francis said in an interview, “if someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Since then, more and more discussion has risen about being more welcoming of LGBTQ religious and lay people, and dissipating long-held stereotypes about these individuals.

Regardless of this slow improvement, homophobia and stereotypes of LGBTQ people are still permeated in many Christian churches, whether adherents are aware of it or not.

An example I’ve seen in Catholic churches is one that’s very common with catechists — religion teachers — and priests, in which LGBTQ individuals are always assumed to not be a part of the community or parish — that is, lay people are always assumed to be straight.

At times, a priest or catechist will talk about the LGBTQ community as though they are all amoral, godless heathens and sexual deviants — not even taking into consideration that these individuals may be sitting in a pew listening and internalizing what is being assumed about them.

This is extremely harmful for both LGBTQ and straight people. What if they’re seeking a relationship with God after years of not going to church? How can they feel like they’re a part of the Church if all they hear is condemnation?

And in the case of straight people, all it does is continue this cycle of fear based on stereotypes and misconceptions. It also causes them to assume that all the people in the Catholic community are heterosexual, which isn’t the case.

I’ve also seen Catholic lay people insult and shame LGBTQ people, saying they’re going to Hell. When it comes to gay priests and lesbian nuns — and yes, they exist, and the Church allows them to minister and counsel lay people — I’ve heard some Catholics refer to them as “the disease that is eating the Church.”

As taught by the Church, a person can’t make the judgment that someone or a group of people are going to Hell, as God is the only one who can judge.

And if someone is called to a religious vocation, it shouldn’t matter what their sexual orientation is, as long as they remain faithful to their vows and the teachings of the Church.

Lesbian or otherwise, nuns are still considered the brides of Christ. Gay or otherwise, priests are still considered to stand in the person of Christ. They aren’t enemies of Christians, and they’re certainly not diseases “eating away the Church.”

Speaking of diseases, a personal pet peeve of mine is the reinforcement of SSA terminology, which is a form of homophobia. What I’m referring to is the insistence among Catholics — and maybe other Christians — to label LGBTQ religious/lay as “people with same-sex attraction,” rather than use the terms “gay,” “lesbian,” etc.

SSA terminology not only implies that LGBTQ people are open to heterosexual relationships, but it also sounds like medical terminology, similar to how someone will say they have “____ disease.” It makes it seem as if these individuals are afflicted with some kind of disease that can be treated or medicated.

As we all know, LGBTQ people aren’t diseased nor does their sexual preference require medication or treatment. Sexual attraction is beyond one’s control.

Homophobia and stereotypes like the aforementioned do nothing but enforce the closet — something that needs to stop.

As Christians, one of our duties is to follow Christ’s example, and that’s exactly what should be done. Listen to LGBTQ Christians, their stories and their feelings. Treat them like you would a friend or companion. Educate others when they make an assumption about the gay community, and correct them when they joke at their expense. Little actions like these make a big impact.

Religious LGBTQ — and non-religious LGBTQ — should feel safer among Christian communities. But this can’t happen unless Christians change their assumptions about the LGBTQ community and fight against homophobia within the Church.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash.

About the Author

Caroline Lozano
Caroline Lozano is a senior pursuing a Bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, listening to music (especially The Beatles), attending cons, and watching movies/shows on Netflix. One of her goals is to become an accomplished writer of novels and short stories. Caroline is also fluent in Spanish.

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